2nd January 2020 Daily Current Affairs:
Overall green cover rises, but northeast records a dip
- The forest cover in the country increased by 3,976 square kilometres (sqkm) but with the sharpest declines in the northeastern States of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram, according to the India State of Forest Report (ISFR), 2019.
- The ISFR, a biennial exercise, assesses the forest and tree cover, bamboo resources, carbon stock and forest fires.
- At 7,12,249 sqkm, the forest cover constituted 21.67% of the nation’s geographical area or 0.12% more than 2018.
- The top three States showing an increase in forest cover are Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
- Tree cover, defined as patches of trees less than 1 hectare and occurring outside the recorded forest area, grew by 1,212 sqkm.
- Tree and forest cover together made up 25.56% of India’s area. In the last assessment it was 24.39%.
- Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the declines in the Northeast weren’t “yet a matter of concern.” The States had a much higher proportion of forest than most States — Mizoram (85.4%), Arunachal Pradesh (79.63%) and Nagaland (75%) — and the declines in forest were still small.
- The Centre had policies in place to address this over the long term.
- He explained the decline in tree cover inside forests as due to tribal populations getting “land titles” (patta) and the rise in trees outside the forest area as due to an increase in tree plantation and afforestation activities.
- The report, however, shows that the quality of this forest — in terms of the canopy density of the trees comprising forest patches — is wavering.
- While 1,755 sqkm of ‘moderately dense forest’ (MDF) became ‘Very dense forest (VDF), 2,782 sqkm of MDF regressed into lower quality ‘open forest (OF),’ Scrub forest’ or ‘Non forest.’
- The forest cover within the Recorded Forest Area, or that which has been officially classified by States or the Centre as ‘forest,’ showed a 330 sqkm decrease, but ‘forest’ outside such recorded area increased by 4,306 sqkm.
- Tree outside forest was found to comprise nearly 29.38 million hectares, which was 36.4% of the total tree and forest cover in the country. Maharashtra had the largest extent of such tree outside forest.
- The nation’s tree and forest cover has largely hovered from 21-25% and is short of the National Forest Policy, 1988, which envisages 33% to be under such cover.
Indian History Congress:
- Recently, the 80th session of the Indian History Congress (IHC) was held at Kannur, Kerala.
- It called upon political and administrative authorities to pursue the constitutional duty of promoting composite culture, which is vital to promoting the territorial unity of India.
- The Indian History Congress, founded in 1935, is the largest association of professional historians in South Asia.
- It has about 35000 members of which over 2000 delegates participate in its session every year.
- It has been holding its sessions very regularly from its inception and publishing its proceedings every year since 1935.
- Its main objective is to promote secular and scientific writing of history.
- The BISM organised an All India Congress in 1935 to celebrate its silver jubilee in Pune. As an outcome, the Indian History Congress (IHC) was thus born with about 50 delegates.
- The Bharata Itihasa Samshodhaka Mandala (BISM) was founded by Vishwanath Kashinath Rajwade in 1910 in Pune with the support of K C Mehendale.
Battle of Bhima Koregao:
- 202nd anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle of 1818 was observed on January 1, 2020.
- A battle was fought in Bhima Koregaon, a district in Pune with a strong historical Dalit connection, between the Peshwa forces and the British on January 1, 1818.
- The British army, which comprised mainly of Dalit soldiers, fought the upper caste-dominated Peshwa army. The British troops defeated the Peshwa army.
- The victory was seen as a win against caste-based discrimination and oppression. Peshwas were notorious for their oppression and persecution of Mahar dalits.
- The victory in the battle over Peshwas gave dalits a moral victory a victory against caste-based discrimination and oppression and sense of identity.
- However, the divide and rule policy of the British created multiple fissures in Indian society which is even visible today in the way of excessive caste and religious discrimination which needs to be checked keeping in mind the tenets of the Constitution.